Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lemony Lemon Brownie Bites

If I had to choose between one of these and lemon bar, I would choose one of these. So delicious. I made them for a little girls night I hosted and they were a hit. They have the texture of a brownie but are full lemon flavor. from Mel

Yield: Makes 25 small squares
The glaze recipe makes a very thin, light layer of sweet, lemony glaze on top of the soft, chewy lemony brownies. If you want more glaze, consider doubling the recipe (just make sure the glaze doesn't overpower!).
Altogether, you probably need 2-3 large lemons for the recipe to get the 4 tablespoons juice and 1 tablespoon (plus 1/2 teaspoon) zest. 
These bars are delicious at room temperature but try them chilled and you may never go back.
    Lemon Batter:
  • 1 cup (5 ounces/142 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (5.5 ounces/155 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Lemon Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup (2.75 ounces/75 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8X8-inch aluminum baking pan with parchment so that it hangs over two of the edges (to lift out the bars later - alternately, you can just grease the pan really well and slice them in the pan) and lightly coat the pan and parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest.
  3. In a separate bowl or in a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the butter, eggs and egg yolk, lemon juice and vanilla.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs (the top of the bars should spring back lightly when gently pressed). Don't over bake or they might be dry.
  7. For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth and combined.
  8. After the bars have cooled completely in the pan, drizzle the glaze over the top (since the glaze layer is thin, it helps to pour it all across the bars instead of in one puddle before spreading) and use an offset spatula or knife to spread evenly over the bars.
  9. Place the bars in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to let the glaze set before lifting them from the pan (using the parchment overhang) and cutting into small squares. These taste best chilled, in my opinion, but can be served at room temperature also.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Skillet Creamy Mac and Cheese

From Mel. Rob loves this stuff because it's more flavorful than my old recipe--I used to just make a white sauce and add cheese, this is much better. It's super quick. If I have 15 minutes, I'll make this over Kraft any day. I make it in my lodge cast iron skillet.

  • 3 1/2 cups water, plus extra if needed
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) elbow macaroni (I weigh it, 12 oz is  usually less than 3 cups. I like it creamier anyway)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (I've never added this, but I should...)
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups) (when i weigh it, it's closer to 2 cups shredded)
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups) (when i weigh it, it's closer to 2 cups shredded)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks 
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  1. Bring 3 1/2 cups water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, the macaroni, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. Cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the macaroni is tender and the liquid has thickened, 9 to 12 minutes. (I go less, we like it al dente)
  2. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk, the cornstarch, mustard and hot sauce together in a small bowl, then stir into the skillet. Continue to simmer slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  3. Off the heat, stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack, one handful at a time, adding water as needed to adjust the consistency of the sauce (I didn’t need any additional water when I made it). Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.